The past year has been extremely difficult, with COVID-19 changing the way we approach our personal and professional lives. Many people will be wondering what 2021 holds in store.
The pandemic has been stressful for many people, causing fear and anxiety that can lead to strong emotions in adults and children.1a Public health actions, such as social distancing, have made people feel isolated and lonely and can also increase stress and anxiety.
Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones, your financial situation or job can cause changes in sleep or eating patterns, difficulty sleeping or concentrating, worsening of mental health conditions, and increased use of tobacco, alcohol, and other substances.
Stress can sometimes cause the worsening of chronic health problems like psoriasis, a chronic inflammatory skin disease. Mental stress is the most common trigger for psoriasis flare-ups. It causes the body to release chemicals that boost the inflammatory response, which scientists suspect is the mechanism for stress-induced flare-ups.
“All patients should be advised, as far as possible, to avoid or manage triggers, including stress, alcohol, and red meat consumption,” says specialist dermatologist, Dr. Lushen Pillay. “This is especially important as we head into the new year and worries arise about going back to work and school. To help control flare-ups, we recommend topical treatment, such as calcipotriol/betamethasone dipropionate combination gel. Topical treatment has minimal impact on quality of life, systemic absorption is minimal, and the risk of side effects is low.”
Healthy ways to cope with stress
- Know what to do if you are sick and are concerned about COVID-19.
- Take care of your emotional health. Taking care of your emotional health will help you think clearly and react to the urgent needs to protect yourself and your family.
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including those on social media.
- Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate.
- Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
- Exercise regularly.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Avoid excessive alcohol and drug use.
- Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
- Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
- Connect with your community- or faith-based organisations.
“All patients should be advised, as far as possible, to avoid or manage triggers, including stress,” says Dr Pillay.
If you do suffer from psoriasis flare-ups, ask your GP or dermatologist for more information about a new, dual-combination, topical treatment option for mild-to-moderate full body psoriasis, so you too can enjoy life to the full this new year.
Adcock Ingram, treating psoriasis from #TopToToe
For more information, visit www.UbetonPsoriasis.co.za
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Coping with Stress. [23 Nov 2020]. Available from: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html
2. DeNovo Medica. Issues and Answers. Topical therapy for psoriasis. 2019;Apr:1-2.
3. Harvard Health Publishing. A deeper look at psoriasis. [23 Nov 2020]. Available from: www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/a-deeper-look-at-psoriasis#:~:text=Flare%2Dups%20often%20occur%20when,%2Dinduced%20psoriasis%20flare%2Dups.